E-commerce is an extremely competitive and successful industry. However, not all online businesses flourish. Running a profitable e-commerce business requires more than some quality products and good business strategy. In this article, we’re going to share 10 tips to help make your e-comm business a success. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and we’ll likely cover these topics in more detail in the future. For now, use this as a quick guide to help set up your e-comm business for success.
10 TIPS TO MAKE YOUR E-COMMERCE SHOP A SUCCESS:
1: KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Whether you’re running an online store or a local cafe, knowing your target audience is a business basic. Luckily, understanding your target customers is a lot easier thanks to online technology. Online businesses have access to a wide variety of tools to help them better understand their customers, what they want, and how to reach them. From Google Analytics to Facebook Insights, make sure you take advantage of the unique technologies available to you and use them to better understand who you’re selling to. Here are some tips for understanding your target audience:
- Create a customer persona. Brainstorm ideas for what your ideal customers look like. This is a key first step to understanding who you’re marketing your products to.
- Gather data on your online audience. Take advantage of tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to gather intel on your users. This can include everything from basic info like age and gender to complex insights into their behaviour on social media, for example.
- Effectively target your key customers. Take the information from your buyer persona and online analysis and target your buyers accordingly.
2: FOCUS ON USABILITY
Being successful online is all about offering a great user experience. Whether you’re selling clothing or kitchen appliances, you want your customers to have a good buying experience. Online stores offering a poor user experience are literally dead in the water, regardless of the quality of their products. No matter how niche your industry might seem, today’s e-comm environment is so saturated that there’s bound to be another site (if not several) offering the same products. If those sites offer a better user experience, don’t expect your customers to stick around for long. Here are some simple tips to building a user-friendly e-comm store:
- Write great product descriptions. All of your products should feature detailed descriptions that tell your customers as much about the product as possible.
- Offer comprehensive information. Don’t force your customers to pick up the phone if they want to know more because they probably won’t. From payment instructions to details about the company, use your website to project all of your most important info.
- Make it easy to get in touch. Should your customers need to reach you, they should be able to do so quickly and easily. Keep all your contact information on your website, and link to your social media sites, should customers want to reach you that way.
3: MAKE CHECK OUT EASY
Note: This is really a usability topic, but it deserves a separate mention. The checkout is a vital part of an e-comm business; friction during the checkout process can lead to frustration, and the last thing you want to do is frustrate your customers when they’re at the point of completing a purchase. In fact, a frustrating checkout process can force your customers to abandon their carts and even leave your site to shop elsewhere. So, you’ll want to make your checkout process as easy as possible. Here are some simple ways to do that:
- Minimize the steps in your checkout. Research shows that fewer clicks during checkout drive-up conversion rates.
- Include credit card logos and security seals. Everyone gets a little nervous using their credit card online, especially with a vendor they’re unfamiliar with. Use credit card logos and security seals to help build trust between you and your customers.
- Offer sign-up options AFTER checkout. Many customers get put-off by being asked to sign up for an account or mailing list before they make their first purchase. If you offer options at the checkout (which you should), make sure you do so after the transaction has been completed.
- Confirm shipping details during checkout. This will help your customers feel secure about their purchase.
4: OPTIMIZE FOR MOBILE
Over 60% of smartphone users have made an online purchase from their phone in the last 6 months. As mobile technology continues to improve, these numbers are only expected to increase. Hence, it is now more important than ever to optimize your online shopping experience for mobile users. If you don’t, you could be losing out on a big portion of customers. Here are a few take-home tips for making your e-comm experience mobile-friendly:
- Check out your site on mobile devices. Examine the mobile experience you’re currently offering by visiting your store on a few different devices. Note the key areas for improvement.
- Contact your dev team about developing a new responsive design of your site. Any good developer will know what you’re talking about.
- Use mobile-friendly sub-domains. Should you not be able to build a site that’s automatically optimized for mobile and desktop browsing, you can redirect your mobile users to a mobile-friendly subdomain. These tend to look like m.examplesite.com
5: TEST EVERYTHING
Testing is a key aspect of online success. Right from the get-go, you should always be testing and analysing the decisions you make concerning your e-comm store. Better yet, A/B test various strategies simultaneously to get instant feedback on each one, then pick a winner. This will help you make informed business decisions, rather than just stabbing around in the dark. Here are some areas of your online efforts that you can A/B test:
- Ads, be it on social media or Google
- Content pieces
- Search copy like meta descriptions and titles
- Promotional material like banner ads, videos, remarketing campaigns, etc
6: CREATE GREAT CONTENT
“Content is king.” If you’re trying to make it online, chances are you’ve heard this infamous phrase before. And it’s true; good content is one of the most important aspects of running a successful e-commerce business. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of different types of content, including everything from on-page copy to the content of your emails and blog articles. And each different kind of content can be improved in different ways. For now, here are some general tips for creating better online content, whatever form it may take.
- Produce great copy. Copywriting is an essential part of marketing, and the quality of your copy has a huge effect on the success of your various marketing campaigns. We recommend working with professional copywriters whenever possible.
- Translate your content. You’re not doing yourself any favours by running a unilingual website. Make sure you translate all of your content to increase your chances of reeling in more customers.
7: KNOW WHERE AND HOW TO REACH YOUR CUSTOMERS
Effective communication is vital to the success of any business. However, you can’t expect to communicate properly with your audience if you don’t know where to reach them. In the online world, there are many different ways to reach your customers. You’ll want to have a clear understanding of which online channels your users are most active on; then target those with high-quality content. Here are some popular channels to use to reach out to your customers:
- Social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram attract millions of users on a daily basis. For companies like yours, they also work as top channels for interacting with customers.
- Email. The good ol’ inbox is still one of the most powerful ways to interact with potential customers. In fact, email can draw in more customers than social and search combined.
8: STAY ON TOP OF SEO
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are used by millions of people every day. Whether you’re looking for a new computer or a good restaurant for your next date, chances are you’re looking to one of these sites for answers. Most online businesses are aware of the benefits of SEO and are constantly looking to make their site easier to find via search engines. Here are a few SEO best practices every e-commerce business needs to follow:
- Use Google Analytics and other search tools to build a comprehensive list of your top keywords and make sure you have valuable, user-friendly content for all of them.
- Use meta titles, tags, and descriptions to help sites like Google index parts of your site for their relevant keywords.
- Don’t let your content become stale. Constantly research new angles to create fresh content for your top keywords and phrases.
- Create detailed, keyword-rich descriptions for all of your products and run them through an SEO tool like Yoast.
- Run an active blog and create in-depth articles to deliver quality information to your users.
9: GATHER PLENTY OF DATA
Data analysis is one of the biggest drivers of success for online businesses. From Google Analytics to Kissmetrics, there are hundreds of top-shelf analytics tools out there tailored to all kinds of businesses and budgets. To ensure your e-commerce business is running efficiently, you’ll want to leverage a variety of these tools to gather data on your operations, as well as your customers. Here are some of the best analytics tools currently available to you:
- Google Analytics
- Yahoo Analytics
- Crazy Egg
- 4Q by iPerceptions
10: ALWAYS REVIEW YOUR STRATEGIES
Finally, one of the most important tips for e-commerce success is this: Evolve constantly. The online landscape is changing constantly, and you need to evolve with it to ensure your site remains relevant. From search algorithms to new social media features, novel ways to conquer the increasingly competitive online world are always on the rise. With a combination of good analytics, flexible processes, foresight, and a healthy dose of guesswork, you can play this to your advantage and gain leverage on your competition.